GAZA, (PIC) – Human rights groups have demanded the Israeli occupation army to end incursions into Gaza’s farmlands and compensate farmers for their agricultural losses.
This came in a letter sent by Gisha (the Legal Center for Freedom of Movement), the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, and Adalah (the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) to Israel’s army minister, attorney general, and military advocate general.
Their letter asked for an immediate halt to the military’s destruction of land in Gaza, an investigation into recent incursions, and compensation to Gaza farmers for the damage.
“On 13 October 2020, Israeli military bulldozers entered about 300 meters into the Gaza Strip, and severely damaged dozens of dunums of agricultural land, destroying crops and irrigation systems. According to the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, this is the most severe damage to Gaza farmlands caused by an Israeli military incursion since 2014, a statement released by the rights groups said.
“The Gaza Ministry of Agriculture reported that at least 10 farmers’ sources of income were harmed as a result of the Israeli incursion, with damages estimated to agricultural lands and crops at more than $32,000,” the rights group added.
According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS), Israeli soldiers, on Wednesday, detained former Jerusalem Affairs Minister, Khaled Abu Arafeh, 59, when he responded to a summons by the Israeli Intelligence.
Four additional Fatah officials in Jerusalem had their homes invaded by Israeli police, and summoned to appear for interrogation, they are; Nasser Qous, Shadi Mtour, Ahed al-Rishq, and Raed Hegazy.
Also in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli police detained the minor, Othman Jalajal, 17, in the vicinity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and took him to a detention center, the Palestinian Information Center reported.
In the al-‘Isawiya district, Israeli police stopped and searched the vehicle of Anwar Obeid, who was subsequently taken into custody.
In northern Jerusalem, four under cover officers, driving a civilian vehicle, stopped on Qalandia street and abducted a young man named Ahmed al-Lawzi.
Meanwhile, the PPS added that Alaa Abd al-Karimal al-Baitawi, a former prisoner from Jenin was detained by Israeli forces.
Israeli soldiers abducted, on Thursday at dawn, seven Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank.
Several army jeeps invaded the Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied Jerusalem, searched many homes, and abducted two Palestinians, identified as Ahmad Mteir and Anas Khatib.
In Tulkarem, in northern West Bank, the soldiers abducted Mohammad Samer Jaber, 21, from his home in Nur Shams refugee camp.
In Ramallah, in central West Bank, the soldiers abducted Mo’taz Zeebar, from his home in Kobar town.
The soldiers also abducted one Palestinian, identified as Majed Salem Abu Zahra, from Yatta town, near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
In Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers abducted two Palestinians, identified as Emad Ali Hreimi, 19, from the Saff Street, and Jibril Khalil Kawazba, 25, from the al-Fawaghra neighborhood, in the center of the city.
Israeli soldiers invaded, Thursday, Palestinian agricultural lands east of Yanoun village, southeast of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and bulldozed them.
Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian Authority official who monitors Israel’s illegal colonialist activities in northern West Bank, said the bulldozed lands are near a colonialist outpost which was installed on Palestinian lands on top of Abdullah Mountain, east of the town.
Daghlas added that the soldiers, and the colonists, are trying to illegally occupy more lands to expand colonies and outpost around the village.
Israeli soldiers assaulted, Thursday, an elderly Palestinian man while picking his olive trees in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.
Local nonviolent activist, Mohammad Awad, said several soldiers invaded an orchard, owned by Mohammad Abdul-Hamid Sleibi, 77, and started pushing him out of his land.
He added that the Palestinian insisted on remaining in his orchard and to pick his olive trees, before the soldiers started clubbing and kicking him, causing various cuts and bruises, and forced him out of his land.
It is worth mentioning that the invaded orchard is near the illegal Bat Ayin colonialist outpost, which was installed on stolen Palestinian lands.
Occupied West Bank (QNN)- The Israeli army on Wednesday arrested an elderly man in the old city in Hebron under the pretext of carrying a knife and wounded a young man in Qalqilya.
The activist Aref Jaber said that Israeli soldiers arrested an unknown elderly man in the neighborhood of Jaber near the Ibrahimi mosque after he was searched while walking in the street. The Israelis claimed he was holding a knife.
In Qalqilya, a young man was reportedly shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers near the illegal settlement of Ornit, which was constructed on confiscated lands of Azzun in southern Qalqilya.
Local sources said Israeli soldiers opened fire at the young man then medical crews rushed to the area and took him to a near hospital.
In the same context, Israeli violations continued against native Palestinians, grabbing large swaths of Azzun’s land in order to open a settlers-only-cemetery with a capacity for 30,000 graves.
‘The Israeli occupation does not respect any agreement with anyone, not only the Palestinians. It is either attacking the Palestinians or preparing to carry out attacks against them all the time’
By Motasem A Dalloul
While the world was busy with the American elections, it is not paying attention to what is going on in the besieged Gaza Strip and its surroundings.
Early this week, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza called on the World Health Organisation (WHO) to urgently help by sending testing kits for COVID-19 as the number of new cases has been increasing steadily since the first four cases were discovered outside the quarantine centres in August. Yesterday, 303 new cases were recorded and one death.
At the same time, the Health Ministry announced that the intensive care unit in Al-Aqsa Hospital, the main hospital which serves the central area of the Gaza Strip, was on verge of breaking down due to the severe lack of medical equipment and a shortage of oxygen.
Rights groups in Gaza amplified the concerns of the Health Ministry, reiterating that the general health and humanitarian conditions in Gaza, which has been under a strict 14-year Israeli siege, is deteriorating.
Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation army has repeatedly carried out brief invasions along the eastern area of the Gaza Strip and opened fire at Palestinian fishermen and farmers several times, injuring at least one fisherman.
“Mass media and analyses reflect what is going on in the minds of the Israeli decision-makers,” specialist Talaat Al-Khatib said, pointing out that Israeli media has been reporting about repeated military exercises in the sea and on the ground near the Gaza Strip, and Israeli analysts have warned that Israel is expecting a major incident in the “south [of Israel]” on the anniversary of Israel’s assassination of senior Islamic Jihad official, Bahaa Abul-Ata, tomorrow.
After the conclusion of the wide-scale military exercises ten days ago, the largest this year, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Aviv Kohavi, said: “This exercise is a special exercise that we set for ourselves a goal of improving our attack capability.”
“This is an exercise that draws a line from the level of the battalion all the way up to the General Staff, with all the coordination and cooperation [up the chain of command] between the different branches [of the military].”
Israeli media has been reporting every single action carried out Al-Qassam Brigade, including the launching of missiles into the sea and organising military marches. When an alleged Hamas tunnel was uncovered beneath the eastern side of Gaza, the Israeli media and military analysts gave numerous column inches to the incident. A couple of days ago, the Israeli media commented on the launch of a rocket in the sea saying Hamas continues improving its attack abilities.
“Israel is planning to carry out a major attack in Syria or Iran before the end of US President Donald Trump’s time in office,” specialist in Israeli affairs Walid Al-Agha told me.
“Therefore, Israel is afraid that Gaza might be involved in an Iranian escalation against Israel in retaliation for such an attack. So Israeli drones have been hovering over the Gaza skies 24 hours a day over the last few days.”
Meanwhile, Al-Khatib said that the Israeli occupation army is expecting Islamic Jihad’s military wing to launch a barrage of rockets towards Israel on the first anniversary of Abul-Ata’s assassination. “If this happens,” Al-Khatib said, “the Israeli army would use it as a pretext to launch an offensive on Gaza.” However, Al-Agha stressed: “If this happened, Israeli would only attack Islamic Jihad targets like what happened during the escalation which was erupted by Abul-Ata’s assassination.”
For its part, Hamas said it is ready for any scenario. “The Palestinian resistance exists due to the existence of the Israeli occupation,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told me, stressing that the Palestinian resistance “is united and ready to protect the Palestinian people from any Israeli aggression.”
Commenting on the intensive Israeli army drills and the recently repeated Israeli aggression on the Palestinians in Gaza, Barhoum said: “The Israeli occupation does not respect any agreement with anyone, not only the Palestinians. It is either attacking the Palestinians or preparing to carry out attacks against them all the time.”
It is not just Palestinian in Gaza who are enduring hardship, their counterparts in the West Bank “are suffering under a brutal Israeli occupation, which restricts their movement, suppresses their freedoms and undermines their human rights.”
In May 2019, the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and Israel reached a ceasefire that ended the deadliest round of tension between the two sides since the Israel’s major offensive on Gaza in 2014. At least 27 Palestinians were killed in Israeli bombings of Gaza and scores more were injured, while four Israelis, were killed, according to Israeli media.
The ceasefire, which was mediated by the UN, Egypt and Qatar, stipulated, according to an AP report, that Qatar would send $480 million to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Qatar said that $300 million would support health and education programmes of the Palestinian Authority, while $180 million would be allocated to “urgent humanitarian relief” in UN programmes and toward electricity. The ceasefire broke down several times, but the mediators saved it.
“As the Israeli occupation has not committed to its obligations under the ceasefire,” Al-Agha stressed, “the Palestinian resistance in Gaza might announce its breakdown under any Israeli violation and resume its action against the Israeli occupation.”
Palestinians throughout the West Bank rallied today marking the 16th anniversary for the death of Yasser Arafat, the first president of Palestine and chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
In Ramallah, hundreds of people gathered at the grave of Yasser Arafat in the Muqata in a rally called for by Arafat’s Fatah party.
The participants lit candles in memory of Arafat, who died at a hospital in France on November 11, 2004, where he was rushed after he fell seriously ill following four years of Israeli army siege of his Ramallah headquarters.
Israeli forces, private security guards, and settlers launched an average of 10 attacks per month on West Bank kindergarten and school students, staff and facilities between January 2018 and June 2020, a new report by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) – Raided and Razed: Attacks on West Bank Education – reveals today.
Over the span of 30 months, 296 attacks against education by Israeli forces or settlers and settlement private security guards took place during 235 separate incidents. Israeli forces perpetrated three out of four attacks. These included soldiers’ raids on schools, harassment, arrest and assault of children in schools and at checkpoints, firing towards children and blocking teachers and students from reaching schools. They also included the downright demolition of schools and confiscation of equipment – many of which were funded by the European Union and European governments.
“Israel, as the occupying power, has failed to ensure that Palestinian children can safely access schools. The Israeli forces have instead themselves denied children education and demolished schools for vulnerable communities in the West Bank,” said NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland. “Israel’s policies and practices toward Palestinian schools have created an environment of constant fear that traumatizes children, while abandoning its obligation under international law to not commit attacks on education.”
Emboldened by ultranationalist rhetoric, Israeli settlers stormed schools and stoned school buses, damaging and vandalizing school property. Nablus and Hebron were especially hard hit, and together account for nearly 80 percent of all recorded incidents perpetrated by settlers or settlement private security guards that harmed education in the reporting period.
Twelve-year-old Mahmoud attending Burin secondary school in Nablus was hit in his head by a tear gas canister shot into the schoolyard by soldiers when armed settlers gathered outside on 2 February this year.
“I did not see the canister because there was so much smoke that I could not open my eyes. I was not breathing much, either,” said Mahmoud, who had to be hospitalized. “It hit my head and I started bleeding.”
In 41 attacks, Israeli authorities demolished, confiscated, or placed under risk of demolition school structures, property, equipment, or materials. Bedouin/herding communities in Area C of the West Bank – under total Israeli control – were especially affected by such attacks. Israeli authorities routinely issue ‘stop work’ and demolition orders, seize materials and even raze schools to the ground together with other structures used for educational purposes, including donor-funded humanitarian aid projects.
Haitham, 12, from Jabal Al-Baba explained why there is no school in his local community, forcing him to trek through the dust or mud for 30 minutes every day in order to reach the nearest school: “The occupation army does not allow us to have one. We built one, but it was demolished. We will build it again. Even if the army demolishes it, we will rebuild it.”
Meanwhile, should Israel officially annex parts of the West Bank, in violation of international law, it would exacerbate already fragile schooling conditions, likely cutting off over 18,000 students from their current Palestinian educational system, teachers, and staff, with a devastating impact for these students, said the Norwegian rights organization.
NRC urged Israel to abide by its obligations not to commit attacks against schoolchildren and education, and called on governments to apply pressure on Israel to comply with international law and ensure children’s safe access to education.